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I’ve recently been promoted to a more senior role. As part of my transition into this role, the CEO of my organization recommended that I use a career coach to prepare me. As someone who has never had a coach before, what should I expect? Elaine Varelas explains

When people hear the word coach, they usually assume it’s for remedial purposes. And while that may be true in some cases, coaching can be a fantastic way to prepare for a new role. Elaine Varelas explains the coaching process and what to expect during a coaching engagement.

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Q: I’m an executive at a firm and I’m moving into a more senior role. The CEO of the company suggested I try a career coach so that I am more prepared for success in this new role. I have a lot of questions – what kind of coach should I be looking for? What is the time commitment? And does career coaching help people like me prepare for a new role?

A: First, it is important to thank your CEO for the offer of providing coaching support to help you successfully transition into your new role. A career consultant has expertise to help people identify what is important to them in their jobs while also developing a resume, putting together a job-search strategy, networking, and interviewing. They are an exceptionally talented group of people in their area of focus.


However, what your CEO is referring to is an executive coach. Executive coaches have an International Coach Federation (ICF) certification or something similar. Their expertise may be in a specific industry or functional area, and they can offer you significant guidance while you embark into your new position. Executive coaches will assist you in the development of clear goals and actionable insights. They’ll help you see challenges that you may face and build strategies and an action plan to help you move forward as you become more comfortable with your new responsibilities. Executive coaches deliver proven methodologies in coaching that will provide tangible and intangible results to help you be more successful.

During the executive coaching process, your CEO will also be asked to be involved in your journey as they can help you discover areas that you may not have as much visibility into. Part of this coaching should include a 360 assessment, and your CEO will be invited to be a participant in this process to give you insights into your strengths, as well as your opportunities for development. Additionally, your coach will involve your CEO in the design of an action plan so that you’re clear on what criteria will be used to evaluate your success in your new role. Unfortunately, coaching can sometimes be perceived as remedial, but the best use of coaching is the exact situation your CEO has offered to you. It is a tool to help you succeed in your new role and put together a plan to ensure that success happens.


Coaching typically takes place over six months, and there is a time commitment concerning learning, but most of the issues you’ll be working on are real-world situations that are part of your job. You don’t often get the opportunity to get something specifically focused on you. The feedback that you can receive to continuously improve your performance with an executive-level peer offering you guidance is essential to your career growth.

Executive coaching will absolutely help you prepare through the development of self-awareness while also enabling you to manage your reactions, your thought process, and your relationships to those who will report to you, as well as your colleagues and CEO. As you move into a more senior role at your organization, your capacity to empathize with others, control your emotions, and mediate internal conflict will not only help you to become a successful leader, but it will also prove vital to your organization.


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